MASSPIRG Commends Attorney General for Suing Equifax

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Uses Strongest Data Security Law in Nation to Hold Wrongdoer Accountable


MASSPIRG Commends Attorney General for Suing Equifax

Uses Strongest Data Security Law in Nation to Hold Wrongdoer Accountable                             

Statement of MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings

“We commend state Attorney General Maura Healey and her office for filing the first state or federal enforcement action to hold the wrongdoer Equifax accountable for failing to protect the financial DNA of up to 3 million Massachusetts residents among the reported 143 million consumer victims nationwide.

The Attorney General’s very strong legal complaint is based on Equifax’s failure to keep its promises to consumers to keep their information secure and prevent misuse, its failure to heed numerous warnings that information in its servers was at risk, its failure to timely notify state officials or consumers of the breach and its failure to comply with the MASSPIRG-backed Massachusetts Data Security Regulations (DSR) that took effect in 2010.

Among the data security regulations that the company is alleged to have violated are the DSR’s requirements on encrypting sensitive data and failure to use minimum, industry-standard practices to safeguard information from theft, especially considering the size and business model of the massive firm, which collects and sells sensitive information on 820 million consumers worldwide, according to the complaint.

In fact, the strength of the Massachusetts state data law may provide better protections to the Commonwealth’s residents than those of other states; we urge our Congressional delegation to be vigilant against any federal efforts to override or preempt it and we urge other states to enact similar laws. The best privacy protections have always come from the states.

MASSPIRG also urges the legislature to enact without delay An Act Removing Fees for Security Freezes and Disclosures of Consumer Credit Reports, SB 130 & HB 134, filed by Senator Barbara L’Italien (Andover) and Representative Jennifer Benson (Lunenburg) to eliminate fees for consumers to  “freeze”  or “thaw” their credit reports.  Freezing or locking credit reports prevents new account identity theft as creditors will not open new accounts without first checking consumers’ credit reports. The legislature’s Consumer Protection Committee will hold a public hearing in the bill on Tuesday, September 26.  We also support Senator Warren’s proposed bill to provide free freezes nationwide.”

AG Healey Complaint:…